Telugu Reviews

‘Paisa Vasool’ Review: The One In Which Balakrishna Romances His Fans

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Balakrishna and director Puri Jagannadh are at their most manic selves in Paisa Vasool. How else does one explain a lead character named ‘Theda Singh’? A man who speaks in punch dialogues, and cites his Wikipedia record (36 brawls- 24 murders – 36 stabbings; predictably enough, his stat record is also quite sexist) to bewildered rivals.

In blue jeans, and with songs like ‘Mama Ek Peg Lao’ forming part of the soundtrack, Paisa Vasool is Balakrishna’s attempt to reconnect with his core fan base. His last effort onscreen was the historical drama, Gautamiputra Satakarni, a film well removed from the actor’s oeuvre. 

In this film, Shriya Reddy wears a red dress, mimics a young, liberated Indian woman (though the actor insists on calling her ‘black’) out and about in Portugal. Considering the age gap between the two, there’s not a lot of chemistry onscreen. And with the kind of deference and adulation Shriya has for Theda Singh, it makes the whole pairing quite disconcerting. Like last week’s Vivegam, Paisa Vasool tooprops up its male lead on a podium and makes everyone else wax poetic about him. The villains, heroine, sidekicks all exist only to sigh in awe and admiration as Balakrishna does his best ‘Telugu hero’ impression. 

Also along for the ride is Kabir Bedi, who looks quite lost in the film that could only be envisioned by a director like Puri Jagannadh. There’s something out there about this movie, a willingness to stretch the boundaries of accepted norms of filmmaking, and a blatant pandering to the fanbase (with songs that go ‘Jai Balayya, Jai Jai Balayya’) – that sets it apart. Paisa Vasool is not something a critic can make sense of. 

*****

As director Karthik Subbaraj once said about Lingaa, Paisa Vasool is a sort of communication between a fan of Balakrishna, and the actor himself. The man jumps from flailing vehicles, issues wild threats to more powerful villains, executes car chases and still finds enough time to romance the maiden. It’s a proclamation that Balakrishna is still ‘with it’ and that he will be around for a while.

With a lesser star, it would be easy to call this film ‘unbearable’ and walk away. Even with Balakrishna and that potent something he exudes onscreen, Paisa Vasool is a rehash of Puri Jagannadh’s film repertoire. This time, in a different location.

*****

The Paisal Vasool review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

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